Yesterday, a self-professed Muslim from the Netherlands posted the following message in response to a roughly-drawn comic strip displaying Mohammed talking about recent death threats against people who draw pictures of Mohammed. Yes, it’s very meta, I know. But still, we got this response from the aforementioned Dutch Muslim:
“I think that the one who published this cartoon, even has nothing to do with humanity or what others fell about their relegion and their prophet. Or, he don’t care about the biggest personnality in history. In all cases he did something bad and he know this because he knew who he can feel if some one drawn a cartoon of Him in a bad way. Anyway, all i can is that i hope this person apologise to himself because he dosn’t know what he did to himself and i don’t think he will do it ,moreover a small artical saying that he was wrong to do this will be enough.
For Your Knowledge I’m a muslim and I will not do it even with your favorite football player let alone someone who is your example.
From a MUSLIM”
An apology? An admission of wrong-doing? Does he read this blog? Well, gosh and wool socks, we all should grow a bit, shouldn’t we? Maybe it is time that I offer a heartfelt apology and sincerely admit that I was wrong. So here goes.
I offer my heartfelt apology to those who expect me to refrain from embracing in their fictions. I’m afraid I will continue to bother you by refusing to pretend that these fictions are real. Look, it’s one thing for a community of people to believe that they shouldn’t make pictures of some historical figure they choose to worship. Y’all want to do that, go ahead: it’s your right. It’s another thing for members of that community to threaten other people with death unless they abide by a religion’s parochial rules. That’s crossing the line from oddly fascinating but certainly tolerable to really frickin’ annoying.
I was wrong, really I was, to refrain from making another poorly-drawn comic strip with Mohammed in it. As long as there continue to be people who feel it is OK to issue death threats against people (who aren’t even, let’s remember, Muslims) just for drawing pictures of some dead guy named Mohammed, it is imperative not only that pictures of Mohammed continue to be drawn, but that more pictures of Mohammed be drawn whenever attempts to enforce silence occur. Even relatively mild-mannered reproaches like that from the Dutch Muslim above need to be answered with a demonstration of continued free expression. Opponents of liberty need to learn that their attempts to control others will only backfire.
I’m really sorry that you haven’t managed to scare me and other freethinking people into putting away the pen, but gosh, that just isn’t going to happen. It must be awfully frustrating for you, and I sincerely wish to express my sadness that any actions I take might be associated with emotional pain on your part. Getting you and other intolerant fundamentalists pissed off is not my primary objective. Indeed, my goal in putting out images of Mohammed is to help you learn that your anger is not a license to kill, or to mute others. It is my hope that one day you’ll realize that your anger is pointless, and you’ll stop brandishing it like a weapon. Until then, you need to own your sense of offense and your emotional distress: you’re the one who has decided to feel the way you feel about what are objectively a few scribbles on a scrap of paper. If you want to feel better about all this, you have the power to make that happen by controlling your emotions, getting a grip, and beginning to be OK with the notion that not everybody must live by your standards. Go on, take a deep breath and give it a shot. You might like it.
I will begin to make amends for my unfortunate lack of comic production with the new comic you see to your right. The remediation of any other associated difficulties is really up to you.